TMQ Watch: November 28, 2017.

Before we jump into this week’s column, we wanted to link to an article on the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network’s website: “Projected 2018 NFL draft order: Browns inch closer to top pick“.

It shouldn’t come as any great shock that the Browns are in pole position, but who comes in second? And third? Hint: one of our regular readers isn’t going to like where their team falls.

Also, this amuses us, but we are simple people:

Sam Darnold denied a rumor that he might stay at USC for his junior season if the Cleveland Browns end up with the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

Of course, there’s no reason for him to stay at USC. All he has to do is tell Cleveland, “No, I won’t play for you if you draft me.” (This is also known as the Eli Manning gambit.)

Anyway. After the jump, this week’s TMQ

Authentic games are back. You can now skip the first 525 words of this week’s column.

What’s our problem with “Authentic Games” as a metric? Our problem isn’t with the metric itself – really, isn’t this another way of saying “strength of schedule” – but with Easterbrook’s presentation of it. For example:

Authentic Games are those played against other teams that make the playoffs that same season, or were playoff-likely on the day the contest was held.

Fair enough. But:

TMQ also counts as Authentic Games some contests that I just have a feeling about. For instance, early-season wins against the LA/B Chargers, when they were losing by missing last second field goals, count as Authentic. On exactly what does and does not count as Authentic, I can’t reveal my methodology (because I don’t have one).

Isn’t “just have a feeling about” another way of saying “pulled from my neither regions”?

I am ranking the Packers only because Aaron Rodgers may come back. I am ranking the Chargers because I gotta feeling: Their losses have been close, they’re tied for third in passing offense and seventh in passing defense, and it’s a passing league. I am not ranking the Raiders because they may charitably be described as a bunch of [what Rex Tillerson said about Donald Trump].

Hooked on a feeling…

As it is now, my metric predicts a Super Bowl IV rematch of Kansas City versus Minnesota. By next week I will have figured out some flimsy excuse for making the metric predict the Patriots or Steelers to win the AFC.

Why wait on the flimsy excuse, Gregg? We hear the excuses already: “Authentic Games are just for fun.” But it’s not fun: when your metric is basically stuff you pull out of thin air and slap a molecules-thin coat of pretense on, it’s annoying, not “fun”.

Stats. Sweet: New England. Sour: Green Bay. (“Green Bay did not exactly have a huge range of attractive options on 4th-and-18. Trying a coffin-corner punt was the least unattractive in this case.” Wait. Isn’t this the same Gregg Easterbrook who constantly urges coaches to go for it?) Mixed: Jets-Panthers, Atlanta-Tampa Bay.

Chicken-(salad) kicking: Washington.

Noted:

Eleven quarterbacks were chosen in the 2012 NFL draft, including Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin going one-two, then Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden also being tabbed in round one. Keenum was passed over entirely that year, entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent. At 8-2, the undrafted Keenum has more victories this season than all 2012 first-round-selected quarterbacks combined.

(Ding!)

Chicken-(salad) kicking to avoid total shutouts (which might not be so chicken-(salad) after all, at least to our eyes): Maryland, South Carolina, da bears.

Why aren’t teams picking up on the repeated fake punt gambit?

Hey, were you wondering when TMQ was going to weigh in on the sexual harassment scandals? Wonder no more.

We don’t want to live in a society that looks the other way on workplace sexual harassment. Do we want to live in a society that accepts anonymous accusations as instant proof of guilt? The court of public opinion is not a court of law, of course. But how long till the first woman faces anonymous accusations of sexual harassment, and is instantly assumed guilty and punished?

This is actually a decent take. Which Easterbrook than proceeds to ruin by foaming at the mouth about how O.J. Simpson is still in the Hall of Fame (“a tax-favored institution”. What?) and on a wall at New Era Field (“the publicly funded facility where the Buffalo Bills play”). This is one time where we’d recommend actually reading this section of TMQ, just to get a sense of how ClumsyBadAwkwardStupid Easterbrook’s segue from Charlie Rose to O.J. Simpson actually is.

The Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup. The NFL doesn’t respect the Flag Code (skipping this will get you 241 words back out of the ones you spent reading the O.J. rant). Pass wacky: Jets.

“Hell’s sports bar has an infinite number of flatscreen TVs…” Wait. Doesn’t an infinite number of flatscreen TVs sort of imply infinite resources (materials to produce them, power to run them, people to assemble them)? Is Hell just people spending their entire day assembling flatscreen TVs? And if Hell has infinite resources…well, the theological implications of this are vast.

Bad blitzing: Denver. Cosmic thought: “The “missing mass” problem of cosmology may someday be solved by discovery that the interstellar and intergalactic regions now considered voids actually are chock-full of stuff, just stuff we can’t see or detect from our pale blue dot.”

You know, we’re not professional astronomers, but we suspect that those folks have thought of this explanation already, and have good reasons for not advancing it. And it also seems to us that, if it has mass, it can be detected. We might have to read that article on China and SETI, though.

Sweet: Auburn. “Hidden Play of the Week”: Wade Phillips moving to the Rams.

“Adventures in Officiating”: “For the second time this season, Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a touchdown signaled by the official on the scene reversed by the replay office far away, and for the second time this season, IT WAS A TOUCHDOWN. (TMQ used caps for this the last time this happened.)” We seem to recall that we discussed this pretty thoroughly the first time and explained why it wasn’t a touchdown. As for the second play, didn’t see it. Also: un-unnecessary roughness.

What’s wrong with Kansas (City)? Mustela watch.

Now alums, boosters, faculty, and trustees at the University of Texas are worried that they hired a weasel.

They are? The weasel was 6-6 this year. We think they’d be delighted to see the weasel go.

“How Can the Browns Be So Bad?” Poor luck in the draft?

The 500 Club. South Dakota 38, Nicholls State 31. Mount Union 45, Case Western Reserve 16.

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week, when we try to get the monkey under control, back in the cage, and away from the cobbler’s bench.

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